Ever since Horace Wright wrote about the birds of Pondicherry in his book The Birds of the Jefferson Region in the White Mountains (1911), the refuge has been a popular area for birding and offers one the chance to see an impressive variety of birds. The checklist for the refuge includes a total of 238 species that have been seen since 1899 when Wright began his record-keeping. Of this number, 129 are species that breed in the refuge. Designated the first Important Bird Area in New Hampshire in 2004, Pondicherry is also a stop on the Connecticut River Birding Trail, which highlights birding sites in the Connecticut River watershed.
Although birds are seen year-round at Pondicherry, the prime time for birding is between April and November, with May and June being the best months for warblers and September and October the best months for migrating waterfowl. Favorite locations for birding in the refuge include Cherry Pond, Little Cherry Pond, Moorhen Marsh, and Mud Pond, all easily accessible by the hiking trails at the refuge. Although not part of the refuge, Airport Marsh (located on Airport Road about a mile northwest of the Pondicherry Rail Trail parking lot) is also a good spot to bird. For more information about birding locations and birding through the seasons at Pondicherry, click here for the article Birding the Pondicherry National Wildlife Refuge by David Govatski. To find reports of recent observations at Pondicherry, search for “Pondicherry NWR” on the Hotspot page on eBird and then choose one of the locations that comes up for the refuge.
Each year two birding events are held at the refuge and hosted by the Friends of Pondicherry. World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is held on the second Saturday in May, and the Big Sit occurs on the second Sunday in October. Information about both of these events, as well as the checklists of the birds seen at them, are posted on the Facebook page for the Ammonoosuc Chapter of NH Audubon.
If you would like to take a checklist with you to record your observations at the refuge, a printable checklist can be found here. Also, if you have an account on eBird, you may want to submit your observations so that other birders can see them.